What is our primary use case?
We were originally using a physical appliance and now we have migrated to a virtual appliance. We migrated to the virtual appliance three years ago.
Our primary use case is for managed installations and the software that we deploy. Our offices are scattered throughout the state and we have 103 locations that are remote. We use KACE to inventory those items. We use KACE to push updates, third-party products, and third-party software to them.
We gather inventory from them, it lets us know how many machines out there have 16 gigs of memory and who's running low in this space. Any new software that we get that the company purchases, that is how we deploy out to the masses. We do that so that we don't have to travel the state over and over again, we can do all this stuff remotely.
We also have a lot of reports that are being generated from the information that KACE has so that we can take that back to our accounting department. We can provide reports on the location of newly purchased laptops. It shows us if they're still being used and who they are assigned to.
What is most valuable?
The ease of being able to distribute software to a thousand machines from one location with just a few clicks is the most valuable feature.
KACE is super easy to use. You have to change your mental process on how to think of something and look at it as how KACE has designed it. But once you can figure out what KACE is thinking, then it is really easy to use. We've been using it so long that we don't have to write much new stuff for it. We are able to use the old scripting jobs or deployments that we had. We're able to take those and modify them with new software and then push it out that way. I learn something new every day in it. There's a lot of stuff that I probably don't know that it can do. I'm always playing with and discovering new things.
It's 90% on a single pane.
We use the Systems Deployment Appliance. It's our bread and butter. Every machine that gets imaged here in this building and out through the whole state goes through the SDA. We rely on it completely. There is no manual process of getting a laptop out of a box, plugging it up, turning it on, and waiting for Windows to start. If you were to go to Best Buy and buy a brand new laptop, you would spend the next two to three hours just setting it up. We don't do that. We get a laptop, plug it into the network, connect it to the SDA, and within about three clicks, we're done.
It takes around 30 minutes to configure our laptops. We image machines, image laptops five to 10 of them at a time. It's really great to just line them all up and power them on, hit enter, enter, enter, and then walk away. That part's great.
KACE saves us time. We've been using it for so long now it's become part of our routine.
It has also increased the team's productivity. We've been able to create standards where we know that no matter what type of laptop it is, we can image it the same way. It has the same setup for every user kind of thing. We know we can guarantee that everybody across the state is running the same version of Microsoft Office or products like that. It has continuity. It's made it to where we are efficient across the board from high-level VP level down to standard user level. Our equipment and the way that our equipment functions is standard. It's across the board.
It makes it to where the six guys that are on our team here can step up and do the same job. We know what to look for. We know the learning curve for it. We all know what it does and how it works. If we hired a new person, they could come in and pick it up very fast and be up and going extremely quickly. We've cut the learning curve down tremendously.
What needs improvement?
I would like for there to be improvement when it comes to Microsoft and Windows updates. It has the ability to do it but the control of it is not there like I have in the Windows Server Update Services. The way KACE does it is still very granular. You don't really see the process like it is in the Windows Server Update Services. I think that would be one of the biggest things that I would like to see KACE really put some work into and really make that a big enhancement.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using KACE for seven to eight years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's very stable. The upgrades and patches that they come out with only seem to enhance the product. They're not trying to fix something that's broken. It always seems like when there is a new version, it's always something that is enhancing.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have one SDA and one SMA and it works for all 1200 of our devices that we have listed. I don't think we would ever need to scale out to anything larger than that.
How are customer service and technical support?
When it comes to opening a service ticket or a support ticket through KACE with Quest, it's one of those that I don't cringe at. I don't mind it because I know I'm going to get somebody that's going to help me. They go above and beyond to help, unlike other companies like Microsoft or something. It's a pain to open a ticket with them because you feel like you have to sit at your phone and can't move and can't leave waiting for them. It's the complete opposite for Quest. I really like how KACE operates on the support side of things. We use their premium support.
I can open a ticket through the appliance itself or I can sign onto the Quest support website and submit a ticket that way. I know that in a very short amount of time, I'm either going to get contacted that they're working on it or we'll actually have a support technician calling me directly. I get real people. One of the biggest benefits is you get a real person. A real person who is willing and knowledgeable about the problem that you're calling about.
Having this excellent support hasn't influenced us to purchase additional products. But it has been an influence on never, not even considering, picking a different product for SMA or SDA. It's a given that it will be here and it will be here for a long time.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was straightforward. When we got the original physical machines, it was taken out of the box, we plugged it into the rack, and got it set up. Within a day or so we had it up and running and had machines in there doing inventory already.
What about the implementation team?
We had professional services assist us with the deployment. I can't remember if they actually came on-site or if we did it remotely.
Our experience with Quest support has always been great. Any of our interactions with them have always been spot on.
What other advice do I have?
The biggest thing that I've discovered from it, is to give a picture of our entire environment. In one location, I can see how many laptops we have, how many desktops we have, how many people we have assigned, and to what software we have it deployed. I can give versions. I can give so much detail on devices that I don't normally see or I don't normally touch, that are anywhere from five miles down the road to 300 miles down the road. I have the ability to see them, change them, update them, and move them. That's where the biggest bang for it comes in.
From an admin point of view, it would make an administrator's life a lot easier to be able to have that vision across their environments and know what's out there and where you stand in that environment. To know if the machines are up to date or if they falling behind, and different things like that.
I would rate KACE a solid nine out of ten. Nothing is perfect, I think that there's always room for improvement but it would be a strong nine.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?